Skip to main content

The All-Undrafted Team (2022 Fantasy Baseball)

by Josh Shepardson | @BChad50 | Featured Writer
Mar 23, 2022
Connor Joe

Connor Joe raked for Colorado in 2021, and the addition of the designated hitter awards Joe a path to playing time at first base, the corner outfield, and as the designated hitter.

I love constructing the All-Undrafted Team annually. I consider it a fun exercise for identifying late-round targets and players to monitor early in the year. So, while they’re tabbed undrafted players, I suggest snagging some of them late in drafts. For this article, I used a cutoff average draft position (ADP) of 300.

Dominate with our award-winning fantasy baseball draft software >>

Catcher

Yadier Molina (C – STL): 301.4 ADP/334.9 ECR

No one is excited to draft Yadier Molina. He’s approaching 40 years of age, and he doesn’t move the needle much in any category. However, Molina is reliable. He has had at least 445 plate appearances every whole season (excluding the 2020 pandemic-shortened campaign) since amassing only 396 in 2007.

Molina has also avoided a cliff season. According to FanGraphs, since 2019, he has hit .261/.304/.380, with per-450 plate appearance averages of 10.41 homers, 3.75 stolen bases, 42.46 runs, and 57.86 RBI. Of course, Molina is the type of catcher you’ll always want to upgrade, but he’ll hold down the fort adequately until you find a better option.

First Base

Connor Joe (1B/OF – COL): 338.4.0 ADP/308.0 ECR

Unfortunately, Connor Joe doesn’t have a locked-up starting position for the Rockies. However, he raked for Colorado in 2021, and the addition of the designated hitter awards Joe a path to playing time at first base, the corner outfield, and as the designated hitter.

In 211 plate appearances, he hit eight homers with a 12.3 BB%, 19.4 K%, .285/.379/.469 slash, good for a 116 wRC+. Interestingly, he was an above-average hitter against lefties and righties, and his stellar walk and strikeout rates traveled for road tilts (11.9 BB% and 19.8 K% on the road). As a result, I’m optimistic he can carve out a regular or semi-regular role. And, obviously, even semi-regular playing time and home games at MLB’s hitters’ paradise, Coors Field, can produce fantasy-friendly numbers.

Second Base

Jeff McNeil (2B/OF – NYM): 309.0 ADP/284.0 ECR

Jeff McNeil had a down year in 2021. His struggles resulted in sliding down the lineup and playing in only 120 games. However, manager Buck Showalter has already indicated McNeil is the team’s primary second baseman this season.

Additionally, after a productive start to McNeil’s career, I’m not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Before 2021, in 1,024 plate appearances, McNeil hit .319/.383/.501 with 30 homers, 137 runs, 117 RBI, 12 stolen bases, a 6.7 BB%, and 12.0 K%. McNeil’s strikeout rate remained excellent last year, but his BABIP cratered from a .342 career mark before 2021 to .280 last season. So, even an uptick to a .300-.320 BABIP would do wonders for his batting average. At McNeil’s cost, he’s a low-risk rebound candidate whose most significant contribution to fantasy baseball teams is batting average.

Third Base

Evan Longoria (3B – SF): 352.6 ADP/320.0 ECR

At the beginning of March, I sang the praises of Evan Longoria. His ADP hasn’t risen much, and San Francisco’s moves in free agency haven’t dampened my enthusiasm for cheaply investing in the resurgent third baseman. Longo’s plate discipline and batted-ball data last year were excellent, supporting the legitimacy of him turning back the clock in 2021. With the universal DH, the Giants could keep Longo’s bat in the lineup while giving him regular breathers from handling the hot corner if he carries over his patience and superb batted-ball data to this season.

Shortstop

Jonathan Villar (2B/3B/SS – CHC): 315.2 ADP/289.1 ECR

Jonathan Villar is listed as the shortstop on the All-Undrafted Team. However, part of the appeal of having him on rosters is his three-position elegibility. Having a Swiss Army Knife on benches is an effective way to maximize games played, namely in leagues with daily lineup changes where you can slot in Villar for one of your other options when they have a day off.

But, of course, Villar isn’t in this piece only because of his position eligibility. He’s also a modest contributor to homers and potentially a significant helper in stolen bases. The utility infielder stole 14 bases in 2021, his lowest total since 2015. Villar has reached at least 35 stolen bases in three of the last six years. Further, he stole 16 bases in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. According to Baseball Savant, his 2021 sprint speed was a pinch above average. Thus, he’s a good bet to steal 15-plus bases, with an upside for many more, with semi-regular playing time.

Speaking of playing time, Villar’s versatility and a lack of top-shelf talent in Chicago’s infield bodes well for his outlook. Villar isn’t a one-trick pony, either. He’s reached double-digit homers in his last six whole seasons, averaging 15.42 homers per 500 plate appearances since 2019. Finally, he’s not a total drag on batting average, holding a .258 average for his career, .259 average since 2019, and a .249 average in 2021.

Outfield

Andrew McCutchen (OF – MIL): 343.0 ADP/271.2 ECR

According to the president of baseball operations, David Stearns, Andrew McCutchen is likely to be primarily the designated hitter for the Brewers. The veteran outfielder’s bat isn’t what it used to be, but it’s still above-average. Since 2019, he has hit .237/.343/.444 with 47 homers, 12 stolen bases, a 13.6 BB%, 21.8 K%, .207 ISO, and 109 wRC+ in 1,077 plate appearances.

Last year, Cutch hit 27 bombs, his most since 2017. Unfortunately, his batting average cratered to a career-low .222. Nonetheless, he had a .239 expected batting average, and his .242 BABIP was much lower than his .298 BABIP from 2018 through 2020. Therefore, a bounce-back in batting average is probable. Finally, he’s stolen 12 bases in his last 14 attempts since 2019, and he still possesses above-average speed. Thus, he should chip in a handful of stolen bases and has the wheels to exceed that expectation if Craig Counsell cuts him loose on the bases a bit more than McCutchen has run in recent years.

Honorable Mentions: Brandon Nimmo (OF – NYM, 302.0 ADP/ 268.7 ECR), Tommy Pham (OF – FA, 310.4/220.5), Adam Frazier (2B/OF – SEA, 312.6/273.9), and LaMonte Wade Jr. (1B/OF – SF, 323.0/303.5)

Starting Pitcher

Jameson Taillon (SP – NYY): 307.0 ADP/266.2 ECR

Jameson Taillon’s first season with the Yankees wasn’t an unmitigated success. Still, firing 144.1 innings in his return from his second Tommy John surgery was a plus. Further, his 4.30 ERA, 3.92 xERA, and 4.33 SIERA were solid if unspectacular. In addition, Taillon had new career-high marks in strikeout rate (23.2 K%) and swinging-strike percentage (12.2 SwStr%).

Sadly, he also allowed a career-high 1.50 HR/9, fueled by playing home games at homer-friendly Yankee Stadium and a career-low 33.2 GB%. Piling onto the bad, Taillon had right ankle surgery for a torn tendon back in October. Initially, he wasn’t expected to be ready until late May.

However, he’s on track to break camp for Opening Day. Further, Taillon said he feels “a lot healthier” this year than last, not unreasonable further removed from Tommy John surgery. This year, the Yankees and fantasy gamers would be delighted to have the pre-2021 Taillon.

In 82 starts totaling 466.0 innings before 2021, Taillon had a 3.67 ERA, 3.67 xFIP, 3.93 SIERA, 1.25 WHIP, 6.0 BB%, 21.5 K%, and 26.5 CSW%. I’m not bullish on Taillon reaching that level of performance, but it’s within his range of outcomes. Even whittling his ERA down to the low fours or high threes would make him a value at his ADP. Finally, with 144.1 innings under his belt last year, Taillon has the foundation to exceed 160 innings this year. In 2021, only 39 pitchers exceeded 160 innings.

Honorable Mentions: Nestor Cortes Jr (SP/RP – NYY, 334.0/306.0), Yusei Kikuchi (SP – TOR, 337.3/260.1), and Dane Dunning (SP – TEX, 408.8/304.2)

Relief Pitcher

Pierce Johnson (RP – SD): 396.4 ADP/307.8 ECR

I’m doubling down on my endorsement of Pierce Johnson. He was featured with Longo in Deep League Targets from earlier this month. The Friars haven’t made a splash to add to the back of their bullpen, positioning Johnson as a closing candidate.

Honorable Mentions: Dinelson Lamet (RP – SD, 338.8/340.0), Ken Giles (RP – SEA, 352.6/323.2)

Complete a mock draft in minutes with our free Draft Simulator >>


SubscribeApple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | SoundCloud | iHeartRadio

Beyond our fantasy baseball content, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Baseball Tools as you prepare for your draft this season. From our free mock Draft Simulator – which allows you to mock draft against realistic opponents – to our Draft Assistant – that optimizes your picks with expert advice – we’ve got you covered this fantasy baseball draft season.

Josh Shepardson is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Josh, check out his archive and follow him @BChad50.

Featured, Featured Link, MLB